This past week, something pretty exciting happened that I have been eagerly waiting to share. For the very first time, I said my name smoothly, not just once, but several times in a row! For someone who has dreaded introductions for years, the joy that flooded my heart each time completely overwhelmed me. I couldn’t stop smiling. I had never known what it actually felt like to tell someone my name without an intense struggle first. It may not happen again for awhile, or… maybe it will. That is all in the Lord’s hands. But either way, I will never stop praising Him for these special moments in time.
Looking back on these few instances, I am intrigued as to why I suddenly did not struggle after so many years of fighting to say my name. I have been contemplating whether I did something differently without realizing it—like relaxing my vocal cords more, releasing all the tension in my lips, or sliding into the ‘M’ sound instead of pushing it out—so that I can learn from these experiences and try to implement the same strategies in the future. As one individual so wisely stated, people who stutter should absolutely enjoy their moments of fluency, but they must not forget to learn from them as well. Sometimes, studying my fluent speech can provide such valuable insight into why I may be struggling at other times.
If you haven’t already noticed, I couldn’t be HAPPIER about this long-awaited breakthrough. All I could even say in that moment was, Thank you, Lord! It was a breakthrough because it showed me that I do have the ability to say my name fluently. It will just take some creativity and patience on my part to discover what strategies might help me achieve more fluency on my name on a regular basis.
Right as I was starting to lose hope and beginning to fear my name even more each day…the Lord used this wonderful experience to remind me to never, ever lose hope. I never imagined that something as simple as my name could teach me so much about life. Absolutely, the stuttering journey can bring deep sadness sometimes. After all, communication is crucial to thriving in this world. Nothing currently in my life is more difficult than fighting to order food, or to make a phone call, or to ask a question.
However, I would not trade its sadness at the expense of all its incredible joys for the world. What a beautiful journey this truly is! I have not always felt this way, and it would be dishonest for me to claim that I necessarily feel this way every moment of every day. Some days, I just want to cry, especially when I feel my fear holding me back in certain situations. But overall…the joys far outweigh the sadness. When those times of sadness do come, I have my amazing family and friends, and most of all, I have the Lord.
I fully realize that I will probably stutter for the rest of my life, at least to some extent. But in the Lord, I have hope for every single day, and for the rest of my life.
“I am not like other people. I must think differently, act differently, live differently—because I stutter. . .I have known all my life a great sorrow and a great hope together, and they have made me the kind of person I am. An awkward tongue has molded my life.” ~Wendell Johnson, Ph.D.